Supreme Court rules displaced workers have no absolute fundamental right to employment

Rajasthan: Court sentences engineer and two others for death of 3 workers while on duty

12 October 2019: Fatehpur Additional District Judge Shiv Prasad Tamboli held the civil engineer and two supervisors guilty of culpable homicide and sentenced them to 10 years’ imprisonment in connection with the death of three workers during the laying of sewer pipes in 2016. The court observed that the construction company and the contractors failed to provide safety equipment to workers – Lal Singh, Rajpal and Dharmendra, mandated under law which could have averted the accident and death of the workers.

Supreme Court rules displaced workers have no absolute fundamental right to employment

11 October 2019: Overturning the order of the High Court of Kerala, in a matter between 12,500 abkari workers (liquor industry workers) and the state of Kerala, the division bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Hemant Gupta held that displaced workers have no absolute fundamental right to employment and a government can renege on a job promise to a group without having to provide individual opportunities to everyone in the group.

Kerala banned arrack on 1 April 1996 which rendered 12,500 abkari workers jobless. In 2002, the government entered into an agreement with the workers that the state-run Kerala Beverages Corporation would fill 25 per cent of its day labourer requirements from among these displaced workers.

But in August 2004, the government breached the agreement. The discriminated workers approached court and a single-judge high court bench in May 2015 ordered the state government to stick to the 2002 policy. However, the Supreme Court bench has overruled this order and held that workers’ right of appointment under the government promise had “matured into a right to life” and also stressed that fundamental rights were subject to reasonable restrictions.

No holiday on 2 October: Tamil Nadu government initiates legal action

3 October 2019: Tamil Nadu government has initiated legal action against 1,596 establishments for violating the provisions of Tamil Nadu Industrial Establishment (National, Festival and Special Holidays) Act, 1958 for not granting leave to employees on Gandhi Jayanti. 406 establishments in Chennai zone, 406 in Coimbatore zone, 279 in Trichy zone and 345 in Madurai zone were found to flouting the law which allows every employee to holidays on Republic Day, May Day, Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanti besides five other holidays for festivals.

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